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CNN Larry King Live
Twelve Days of Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah
Aired July 23, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, no let up in the deadly attacks between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Twelve days into the conflict, Condoleezza Rice leaves to night for the Mideast. Can she stop the bloodshed? We'll as three diplomatic heavyweights: George Mitchell, the Mideast peace negotiator and former Senate majority leader; Jeane Kirkpatrick the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President Reagan; Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to President Carter. He helped broker the 1978 Camp David Middle East accords. Plus Tony Bourdain, the celebrity chef shooting his TV show in Beirut, when all hell broke loose. And the latest with reporters on the frontlines. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
First we'll make our sweep of our outstanding journalists doing outstanding work all over the region. We begin with Christiane Amanpour in Northern Israel. As she joins us, let's hear a report that she made earlier on how hard it is there to gain ground and keep it. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An Israeli tank rumbled back across the border from Lebanon after battling Hezbollah militants in the small hilltop town Maroun al-Ras. Ohad (ph), the tank commander says it was a very hard battle, two of their tanks were ambushed.
"They were ready for us. They have a lot of ammunition, they have guns, they have everything they need," he says.
In all, six Israeli soldiers were killed and several more wounded in the fight for this one village. Even though the army high command says they've now captured the village, their helicopters and tanks are still shelling it and their soldiers are still trading fire there with Hezbollah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Christiane, based on what we've just seen, is there going to be a very long hard go at it?
AMANPOUR: Well, it looks like it's a hard slog. I mean, Israeli military commanders who brief us tell us that, you know, they're making progress, they've a certain amount of the military equipment and infrastructure, they've got a hundred Hezbollah they say they've killed. But this one village, which is just a few hundred meters across, that we've been really witnessing from the Israeli side for the last several days, it's meant to be in control of the Israelis, but it's still, you know, fire-fighters, skirmishes and this and that. So, it's certainly going to take a while, and that's certainly the word we're hearing from the high command.
KING: Anderson Cooper joins us from Beirut, he will host "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at the top of the hour, immediately following this program.
What's the latest on the situation in Lebanon?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, it is very much as it was the day before. There were bombings here in Beirut, perhaps not as many as we have seen in recent days. They suddenly break up, suddenly break out of nowhere. Loud explosions, several of them rocked Beirut earlier today. But that was really it, in terms of the aerial assaults we had been seeing. We haven't heard as many Israeli drones throughout the day as perhaps normally we do. The action really seems centered down in south Lebanon fighting around the city of Tyre, fighting around the town that Christiane was just talking about. That is really where Israeli ground forces are certainly focused their action.
We have lots of people, now, Lebanese trying to stream out of southern Lebanon. Many of them ending up here in Beirut, they're sleeping in the parks, they're sleeping in city schools. Hezbollah, thought still firmly in control of the south of Beirut, the territory that they have traditionally controlled, it's really a state within a state. And that is where the Israelis are focusing their fire-power when they do attack, here in Beirut, Larry.
KING: And didn't -- wasn't there a military hit from Israel over a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon today, as well?
COOPER: Yeah. That was in Southern Lebanon. We don't have reports of injuries. There was one, according to Lebanese broadcasting, there was one death of a Lebanese journalist, if that is true, that would be the first journalist to die in this conflict in these past 12 days -- Larry.
KING: Thanks Anderson. John Roberts is in Haifa, CNN senior national correspondent. Rockets still hitting there?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good news and bad news today, Larry. The good news is that only 90 Katyusha rockets fell on Israel, fired from Hezbollah in the Lebanese side of the border. The bad news that two people died in Haifa today. The number of 90 represents a little bit more than half of Katyushas the came over yesterday. Difficult to say whether or not that's as a result of the Israeli defense forces degrading Hezbollah's capability or Hezbollah just decided not to fire as many today.
But two deaths, one of a man in a wood-working shop down in an industrial area, where a Katyusha rocket hit and another one, I mean, you talk about terrible bad luck. This fellow was in the middle of a field in a kabutz, his car parked on a road. The rocket landed nearly on top of him, the entire open area and chose to land right on top of him. But also, stories of miraculous escape today as well. In a suburb about Nesher (ph), which about three miles away from here a man and his young son were hiding downstairs in the shelter in their basement. The rocket came through the top of the house, literally blew the top of the house off, went down through the second floor into the basement where they were, after going through four inches of concrete, exploded down there, and Larry, miraculously they were covered in dust and they were a little bit dazed, but they were completely uninjured.
KING: Wow. John Roberts in Haifa. Now let's go to Damascus. Hala Gorani on the latest there.
The Syrian information minister, we understand, Hala, has warned that if Israel invades Lebanon and comes too close for Syria, Syria's going to get involved. What do you hear?
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That is what Muhsen Bilal said and we were able to confirm it. He said if there is an Israeli ground invasion, then Israeli troops could potentially come within 12 miles of the Syrian capital. Now, even though that's not exactly geographically possible, the points he is making is the one you also raise there, Larry, which is that if Israeli ground troops come too far into Lebanese territory they will get close to Syrian territory and they will threaten national security according to Muhsen Bilal.
The question at this point is whether this is political rhetoric or if this is a shift in Syrian policy, because it is a departure from previous statements. Syrian officials in the past 10 days have said Syria would only get involved if it is directly attacked. Is this a way to get attention from the United States as Condoleezza Rice visits the region, it has expressed interest in direct talks with America. And this is some many analysts say the U.S. is, so far, not ready to do -- Larry.
KING: Thanks Hala. Hala Gorani, Anderson Cooper, John Roberts, Christiane Amanpour. When we come back, we'll get the representative from Israel and we'll meet Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and former senator George Mitchell. That's all ahead next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Welcome back to a special live Sunday night edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves for the region tonight, is expected to meet first with the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and then with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Standing by in Tel Aviv is Israeli government spokes person, Miri Eisin, a former colonel in the Israeli defense forces. Unfortunately representatives from Hezbollah and the Syrian government were unavailable tonight.
Miri, what do you expect from the meeting between Condoleezza Rice and the prime minister?
MIRI EISIN, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON; TEL AVIV: Well, good evening, Larry. I think that the most important thing for us and Israel is first of all the international backing, the backing of the United States. It's very clear right now that the United States really understands what we're fighting, what we're trying to defend.
Hezbollah is still firing rockets, still terrorizing the northern portion of Israel, still taking hostage the Lebanese government. We hope to hear from Secretary of State Rice the backing for Israel and the understanding that we cannot go back to where we were almost two weeks ago. We can't continue having Katyusha rockets on our northern border or a terrorist organization deployed there as if they're part of Lebanon.
KING: Miri, Lebanon minister of foreign affairs says that the two Israeli soldiers taken by Hezbollah are in good health and safe. Do you accept that on word alone?
EISIN: We don't expect it on word alone, but we are happy to hear such things. For us, that's very important. The were abducted from Israeli territory in that cross-border attack and we don't know anything about them. Hezbollah has not said anything about what happens with them and it's good to hear that, it's important for us. You know, in Israel every day not only on TV and radio, but everywhere you go, you listen to people here who know and they ask, how's Eldad, how are they doing? We all know their names and know when they are. These are not just figures for us, these soldiers who were kidnapped, it's the two both kidnapped by Hezbollah and the additional one, Gilad, who was kidnapped by the Hamas and the Palestinian authority and we have no idea how they are or where they are. So, it's good to hear something about them.
KING: What do you hear on the latest about the condition of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon?
EISIN: Well, you know that here, it's 4:00 in the morning. I'm only updated to yesterday evening. We all heard that he had gotten worse. I don't know anything additional here. I'm sure you'll join me, we're all here in Israel praying for former Prime Minister Sharon, a very central, important, dominant figure in Israeli history and Israeli politics and we all pray for his good being.
KING: Thank you, Miri. And we'll checking in with you again tomorrow night.
Let's go now to Washington, D.C. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Haven't seen Jeane in a long time. The former ambassador to the U.N. during the Reagan administration. She's now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
And in Northeast Harbor, Maine, George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader, international peace negotiator. He served as chairman of the Sharm al Sheikh International Fact-Finding Committee on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ambassador Kirkpatrick, what do you think's going to happen from Secretary Rice's trip.
JEANE KIRKPATRICK, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: You know, I think it's impossible to know as it is impossible to know. Just like I think it's impossible to know exactly what's going to happen to the kidnapped Israeli prisoners. I think that the -- the state of Israel is going to make a continuing and serious effort to re-take, recapture those airmen. And the Hezbollah is going to make a continued effort to prevent that from happening. And I don't see -- I don't see the probable outcome yet. Eventually, I think that the Israelis will recapture those airmen because Israel will not give up its airmen, as we know.
KING: George Mitchell, do you think the secretary's trip is too late?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FMR. SEN. MAJORITY LDR. INTL. PEACE NEGOTIATOR: I do, Larry, but the important thing is that she is going and my hope is that there will be serious discussions to try to develop a comprehensive package that would involve an end to the violence, a zone in the south of Lebanon that is covered by an international force with a robust mandate that will make certain that Israel's northern border is protected, and that we'll begin a process of de-escalation and reducing tensions on all sides and hopefully, ultimately, although this is longer term, bring about a resumption of discussions, because that's the only way this is going to be resolved, battle after battle after battle will still leave the result unclear and there has to be some way to reach an agreement to have a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state, which is secure and whose people feel safe.
KING: Ambassador Kirkpatrick, why is the United States opposed to a cease-fire?
KIRKPATRICK: I don't think the United States is opposed to a cease-fire. We're only opposed to a cease-fire that cannot hold and I believe we will continue to be opposed to a cease-fire that cannot hold. We want a solution that may be a solution, in fact.
KING: How do you know if something's going to hold until you try it?
KIRKPATRICK: Well, you don't but judge by all your experience. And we've had a lot of it in this area. You know, when I entered the Reagan administration in 1981, there was a situation in southern Lebanon was not unlike the situation today. It was similar in a good many respects, and there were good many Israelis seeking simply to survive Lebanese Katyushas, which were falling rapidly.
KING: The -- George, how do you respond to the statement by the secretary who said "What we're seeing here is the birth pangs of a new Middle East." Do you see that?
MITCHELL: I think that's probably a little hyperbole, Larry. It is a difficult situation one in which I think there are major changes occurring, unfortunately, many of them are not for the better, at least from our perspective. And I think that what you're seeing is a confluence of several conflicts here. Israelis and Palestinians, Sunni and Shiite within the Muslim world, a continuing conflict that does not receive, I believe, sufficient attention in the West in terms of its potential for reshaping the area and a major factor in the current crisis that is the Iranian government, a Shia dominated provides assistance to the Shia group Hezbollah in Lebanon. So, there are several conflicts going on. It may be new and there may be developments, but many of them are not going the way. We'd like them to go.
KING: More with Ambassador Kirkpatrick and George Mitchell on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Zbigniew Brzezinski still to come. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and for former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. Is there a point, Ambassador Kirkpatrick, where the United States' backing of Israel could be counterproductive, where it threatens our interests or our security to be aligned with one nation there?
KIRKPATRICK: I do not think that point has been reached and is likely to be reached, frankly. We don't support Israel for any such reason. We support Israel because it is a loyal ally and with whom we share some fundamental interests and those factors, I think, will not change. Not in the foreseeable future, in any case.
KING: Senator Mitchell, should the administration talk to Iran and Syria?
MITCHELL: Well, I think they certainly should, Larry, directly or indirectly. I don't think the interests of Iran and Syria are identical in all respects. And you recall last week, a week ago, I said that we should be approaching Syria, even indirectly because they are much more exposed than Iran, getting much less out of this, and being much more exposed as a result of this conflict.
And I would be amazed if we weren't making some approaches, at least indirectly. There are plenty of interlocutors, others through whom we can make such approaches and I'm certain, at least I believe, that must be happening now if the administration is on the ball, as I hope they are in that respect.
KING: Ambassador Kirkpatrick, the "New York Times" reports today that many Iranians are not happy with the government's patronage of Hezbollah. Could Iranian public opinion change things there?
KIRKPATRICK: Well, it could change things, but I doubt if it will, frankly. Because Iranian public opinion is simply not that powerful, at least as demonstrated so far, and, you know, not as we anticipate it in the near future.
KING: This, again for you, Madam Kirkpatrick, what confidence do you have in the U.N.?
KIRKPATRICK: Well, look, I don't think the U.N. or the U.S. or the U.N. and the U.S. or any combination of the countries that are assembled here can solve this problem. This is a very difficult problem and a very important and the lives of many people are at stake here. KING: Senator Mitchell, could an international peacekeeping force work?
MITCHELL: Yes, it could, Larry, under the right circumstances. It would depend upon the composition, the mandate, the leadership, the receptivity of both sides. There are reports in the recent days that Israelis are looking -- would look favorably upon it in the right circumstances, as I believe many Lebanese would, in the right circumstances. But, that all has to be worked out.
I do think this is soluble. I think it requires strong and persevering American leadership and assistance by others, most notably Russia can play a role here if it chooses to do so, if it can be persuaded by the president and our administration and many others can be of help, as well. The French have a long history in Lebanon and worked with the United States in that area back a couple years ago, or back recently when Syria withdrew.
KING: Ambassador Kirkpatrick, what impact does the United States' involvement in Iraq have on options in the current crisis?
KIRKPATRICK: I think it has very limited impact, frankly. I believe that the United States' involvement in Iraq has limited, you know, consequences for the U.S. involvement in Syria, for example, and in all the other countries in the area. You know, this is an extremely complicated context in which we are operating today. More complex than I have ever seen the Middle East, let me say, Larry.
KING: What about -- Senator Mitchell?
MITCHELL: Larry -- well, I do think our involvement in Iraq has had one major effect it's greated benefited Iran.
KIRKPATRICK: I agree with that.
MITCHELL: Because Iraq was a counter-weight to Iran if a long time, they fought a bitter eight-year war in which hundreds of thousands were killed. We, the United States, assisted Iraq during that conflict because we were concerned about Iranian expansion to the south. Now that huge counter-weight has been removed and Iraq's desire to extend its influence to the Persian Gulf region has alarmed many of the Arab governments in the region, the Gulf Arabs, who are most all Sunni government dominated and they see a Shia-governed Iraq -- Iran.
Now, with an Iraq that's no longer hostile to them but, in fact, will be relatively close to them. Many of the leaders in Iraq now, really placed there as a result of the United States action, spent time in Iran during the Saddam Hussein era. So, one major effect, not to mention, of course, the debilitating result on America's standing in the world and in the region has been to pave the way for greater Iranian influence in the Persian Gulf.
KING: Thank you both very much. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader, international peace negotiator.
When we come back we'll rounds it up with our correspondents and then meet Zbigniew Brzezinski. You're watching a Sunday night edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. Let's get highlights. U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice heads to the Mideast. Rice will meet with Israeli prime minister, Olmert and -- that's in Jerusalem and Palestinian president, Abbas in the West Bank.
Israeli air strikes have hit Beirut, plus targets in east and south Lebanon. More Hezbollah rockets are slamming Northern Israeli towns.
Israel said it would accept an international peacekeeping force in Lebanon, preferably headed by NATO.
And top Saudi envoys urge President Bush to press Israel for a cease-fire.
And Syria calls for an immediate cease-fire and says it's willing to engage in direct talks with the U.S.
And a hospital spokesman says that comatose form Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has taken a turn for the worse. So, let's ask Christiane Amanpour. If Sharon dies, what effect might that have, if any, on this situation?
AMANPOUR: Well, I don't think any. I mean, I think it will have some nostalgic effect for his supporters and probably history will recall the irony if he dies now in the middle of what's called "Lebanon II," it was after Sharon, who took Israel into its ill-fated experience in Lebanon in early '80s, in 1982. But I think, you know, you'll have the requisite obits, the talk, analysis about him, but I don't think at all it'll affect the ground campaign or the air war.
KING: Anderson Cooper, what do you make of the kinds of acceptance by Israel for an international peacekeeping force under NATO?
COOPER: Well you know, Larry, there's a lot of skepticism about the United Nations, certainly on the part of Israel. There is a U.N. force in Southern Lebanon, they have been there for a number of year. But they're widely viewed as a failure, certainly by many in Israel. They have not stopped Hezbollah rockets from raining down on Northern Israel. I think that's why the emphasis is perhaps on a NATO force.
The U.S. -- of course, the U.S. representative to the United Nations over the weekend telling Wolf Blitzer that it's very early days for the U.S. to be considering a NATO force. And certainly, new idea that is one of the ideas they are considering.
But I think certainly on the part of Israel, I can see why they would support that more than a U.N. international force or U.N. helmeted force, given their past experiences with the U.N. in Southern Lebanon.
KING: John Roberts, why Haifa? Why are they hitting Haifa so hard?
ROBERTS: They're hitting it so hard, Larry, because it's the third largest city in Israel, home to some 300,000 people. It's 22 miles away from the border right along the coast here from areas further inland in Lebanon where some of the Hezbollah strongholds are, as much as 35 to 40 miles away, and they're hitting Haifa to prove that they can do it.
In addition to Haifa, they're also saying we can go beyond that, as well.
KING: OK. We lost John Roberts' signal. We should get it back.
Anderson, have you seen those rockets up close at all?
COOPER: I have not seen the -- well, on this side, we don't have rockets...
KING: I know, but when you were in Haifa.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, I've been to the blast sites, certainly. I haven't seen the actual shrapnel of the rockets, but I spent more than a day chasing various rockets getting to the scene just moments after they had hit.
It is a -- you hate to say you get used to it because you never get used to it. That sound of that siren, you know, you can see it on TV. But when you actually hear it, when you're there live, it gets your heart racing. You really -- suddenly, you're immobilized. You don't know exactly where to run to. You don't know if you are running into a rocket. You could be doing that as easily as you could be running from one.
If you're out on the street, you press yourself against the side of a building, and you just have to wait. And it is this very eerie wait as you listen to the sirens die down and you just wait for the sound of the impact. You pray it's not close to you and, of course, you pray it's not close to anyone when they do hit. Often the rockets fall into the sea.
But when you hear that impact, sometimes the ground shakes. Sometimes the windows shake. It is a terrible feeling, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Anderson.
Anderson Cooper at the top of the hour will host "AC 360".
John Roberts, we've made the connection again. What's it like -- what is it like for you, those rockets?
ROBERTS: Larry, the air raid siren went off at 11 a.m. this morning. As Anderson says, it is a bit of an eerie feeling, and the adrenaline does start pumping. Immediately what happens is the camera crew runs to the window and takes a wide shot to see where the missile is going to hit. You're looking out the window with them and suddenly say to yourself, "Should I be standing this close to the window?" And then decide maybe I'll back into the room just a little bit.
But anyways, as a journalist, it's difficult to run for cover because you have to cover the story, and the only way to cover the story is to open your eyes and look at where the story's going.
KING: Christiane Amanpour, do you ever get -- you've done -- you've covered so much war and violence. Do you ever get used to it?
AMANPOUR: You know, you don't get used to it. And most particularly on this side, we've been -- we've been hearing increasing questions raised to the military commanders because of the incredible civilian toll that's taking place, not just here but, also, much, much more so in Lebanon.
And so, you know, you don't get used to this kind of thing, because every time it happens, there's something shocking that makes you and keeps you still alert and keeps you asking the questions and keeps you, you know, keeping the pressure on those who are doing the briefing.
For instance, this minibus that was blown up in Southern Lebanon today. I mean, for days, we've been told by the Israeli forces that they've been trying to get the Lebanese out of those towns so they can, quote, "act without civilian restrictions."
Then this minibus tries to leave under these orders and get hit from the air. And when we asked the military here, you know, they say sorry. They're trying to do their best not to do that but sometimes, they say, misidentify the enemy. And these are things that are very hard to get used to.
KING: Thank you all very much, Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper and John Roberts.
We'll take a break and, when we come back, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to President Carter, who helped broker the historic Camp David accords, will give us his thoughts right after this.
KING: Great to see him again, Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter. His viewpoint piece "Time for Real Diplomacy", is on TIME.com. That's TIMEmagazine.com.
Zbig, how's the secretary's trip going to work?
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT CARTER: It depends almost entirely on how serious an undertaking she's going to pursue. If she's just going there to reassure the Israelis but then essentially to wait until they clean up Southern Lebanon, destroy the Hezbollah, it will take time, it'll be bloody. The Israelis will not get their prisoners back. The Lebanese will suffer more.
Eventually, we'll cut a deal with the Israelis to evacuate in Southern Lebanon and some sort of a NATO force would be put in. But, the fighting, the hostility would be costly and the animus will be enormous.
It's time for her to be seriously engaged, and that's a much tougher undertaking.
KING: Is the United States right to forego a cease-fire at this point?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, that's the whole point, which you are making. I have outlined one choice. The other choice is to talk to all of the parties concerned to see if a cease-fire can be contrived.
If that cease-fire is accompanied then by an arrangement by which the prisoner is exchanged, not simultaneously but sequentially, the Israelis released first, then the Hezbollah prisoners, then some Palestinian prisoners and a peace process is then initiated more actively by the United States, that's the second choice, but that requires her to be in the region longer and to talk to everyone and to stick with it.
KING: How long can or should Israel keep up this attack on Hezbollah?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, that, precisely, depends on what the strategy is. If the strategy is to destroy Hezbollah, then, in addition, just to bombing the Lebanese, the Israelis will have to go in and clean out the Hezbollah.
But that will be costly. It will involve serious casualties. And I don't think that Hezbollah will surrender. It may fade away and be destroyed, but the prisoners won't come back and many more enemies will have been made.
KING: There's no doubt Syria and Iran are players. Should the United States be taking to them?
BRZEZINSKI: Absolutely. You always talk to your opponent unless you want to fight your opponent. We talked to the vile North Koreans, for example, in the '50s. It's not because we liked them, but because it was better to talk to them than just to fight them forever.
KING: So why -- so the obvious then, is why not talk to them?
BRZEZINSKI: Precisely. Now, we don't have to talk to them directly in every instance. There are sometimes ways of talking indirectly.
But it seems to me that, for example, the Syrians are worth talking to. We forced the Syrians to leave Lebanon. I hate to say this, but I can't help wondering, if we hadn't forced the Syrians out, would the Hezbollah have done what they did? Because then, the Syrians would have been responsible for what Hezbollah did. And the Syrians would have kept the Hezbollah under their thumbs.
KING: What role or hindrance, if any, does the war in Iraq play on this?
BRZEZINSKI: It's a serious hindrance, because the war in Iraq has gravely damaged American political credibility and, also, American military prowess. We just are not quite as tall as we were before we went into Iraq.
KING: How big can this get, Zbig?
BRZEZINSKI: I don't think it's going to get too big at this stage. The problem is different. I think what we are witnessing is the transformation of the periodic wars between Israel and its neighbors, which Israel has been winning consistently, into a kind of protracted asymmetrical warfare, which nibbles away, which involves continuous pain and periods of quiescence, the renewed pain, and the number of enemies grows and grows and grows.
And this is why I am so convinced that it is absolutely in the interests of the United States and the Middle East and in the interests of Israel for the United States to be much more seriously engaged in pushing for a comprehensive peace accommodation.
KING: Do you think Hezbollah knew how Israel would react to the taking of the soldiers?
BRZEZINSKI: Probably they anticipated some reaction. They didn't anticipate it would be such a strong reaction. But, to the extent that the strong reaction has been directed rather indiscriminately at the Lebanese, more and more Lebanese are now going to be sympathetic to Hezbollah and hostile to Israel.
KING: so why do you think Israel did that?
BRZEZINSKI: Probably because it didn't know what to do. Initially was certainly outrage. I suspect that the government is somewhat weak and wants to demonstrate that it is tough. Usually, weak governments tend to overreact.
And I don't think the Israelis right now have any strategy, other than hitting. And hitting is not, in itself, a strategy. It's a tactic.
KING: How does this end?
BRZEZINSKI: It will percolate, and it will either end by the Israelis being forced to go into Southern Lebanon, cleaning out the Hezbollah, but not resolving anything thereby. Or we eventually, reluctantly, get engaged in a more serious negotiating effort in trying to contrive something that involves the Syrians, then through the Syrians, the Hezbollah, but also doing something about Gaza and that problem, because that keeps exploding and festering. KING: Do you like the idea of a special envoy?
BRZEZINSKI: No. A special envoy is not very effective. Special envoy is a one or two-day effect. But then after that, the parties concerned want to talk to the top people here. It has to be the secretary of state.
And this is why I have said publicly, and I'm sure that Condi doesn't like me for this, but she ought to do what Kissinger did. Stay there and work at it. If necessary go to Damascus, talk to -- go to Cairo, talk to the Jordanians, use the Syrians as intermediaries to talk to the Hezbollah. Stick with it and deliver.
KING: Thank you, Zbig. We'll be calling on you again. It's great to see you.
BRZEZINSKI: It's good to see you.
KING: Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security advisor to President Carter, who helped broker the Camp David Accords. His viewpoint piece, "Time for Real Diplomacy", you can get it on TIME.com.
We'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome -- welcome Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, United States Army retired, CNN military analyst, former Army intelligence officer. He's in Washington.
General, the Israelis are determined to destroy the Katyusha rockets that have rained down on them. How do they do that and how complicated a job is it?
BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Larry, it's a very complicated task, but it can be done.
And what demonstrates the difficulty is that Hezbollah fired 60- plus rockets into Israel today. This demonstrates the nature of finding and destroying these Katyusha rockets and their launchers.
Larry, let me walk you through a scenario that we've set up for you here on the map. In Southern Lebanon, for example, we have a Katyusha rocket which is located here.
Now it's important to point out that at any given time over Lebanese air space, you have unmanned aerial vehicles which have the ability to see the activity on the ground, both day and night, and broadcast TV-quality video. They also have attack aircraft in prepared positions and artillery positions represented here, ready to fire at a moment's notice.
In this example, let's say the Katyusha rocket fires before they can strike the launcher. The Katyusha rocket fires. The unmanned aerial vehicle can pick up that launch immediately and then, Larry, instantaneously pass firing data both to the aircraft and the artillery.
In this particular scenario, the aircraft is in a better position to attack the Katyusha launcher. Understand, the rocket's already underway, but the aircraft goes after the launcher, as it tries to scoot and hide. If Israel could continue to strike launchers, you deny the capability of the rockets.
KING: John Roberts in Haifa, how are the ordinary citizens of Israel coping with these rocket attacks?
ROBERTS: Surprisingly, Larry, they're coping very well. Every day when the rockets come in and a home gets hit or a building gets hit or somebody gets hurt or somebody gets killed, obviously there's a lot of concern in the immediate area. But they sort of pick themselves up and they go on.
This fellow that I met today, Zohar Bronstein (ph), whose home was literally destroyed right before his very eyes, was pretty pragmatic about the whole thing, saying, "Well, I'll have to get a new house and I'll have to build a new one, but in the meantime I can move in with my family."
So while these are weapons of terror that are reigning down on Israelis every day, because they don't hit any strategic targets. They're not good tactical weapons. It really is amazing the resilience with which the Israelis deal with these rocket attacks, day in and out.
KING: Thanks, John.
General, Israel's defense minister this is not a full-scale invasion. How likely, in your opinion, is a full-scale invasion?
MARKS: Larry, there needs to be an increased number of soldiers, foot soldiers on the ground, in some type of a buffer zone north of Israel in Southern Lebanon in order to achieve the objectives that Israel has stated they want to achieve. It seems very likely that they're going to have to put more forces across the border.
KING: Is Hezbollah a tough opponent?
MARKS: Larry, it's an extremely tough opponent. They have intimacy with the terrain. They have intimacy with the terrain. They live in that terrain. They fight in that terrain. They've had years to improve their fighting positions. They will try to dominate a fight. They are the defender, and the advantage always goes to the defender.
KING: But Israel has had a lot of experience in that territory, too, haven't they?
MARKS: They really have, Larry. They were there for 18 years. They departed six years ago. But what's key is in that intervening six-year period, Hezbollah has had plenty of time to establish barricades and obstacles and to make that fight on that ground that much tougher. KING: Thank you very much, General.
Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, CNN military analyst, and John Roberts in Haifa.
Coming up, you won't want to miss this, an incredible story of escape from the war zone with celebrity chief Tony Bourdain. He was shooting his TV show in Beirut, living the high life, fine dining, lounging by the pool, when this crisis broke out and he had to evacuate like everyone else. We'll hear his story, right after this.
KING: Now joining us from New York is Tony Bourdain. He's the host of "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" on the Travel Channel. He's the chef and best-selling author.
You were in Beirut shooting an episode of your show. What happened?
TONY BOURDAIN, CHEF/HOST, "NO RESERVATIONS": Well, I spent two really magical days meeting Beirutis, all of whom were bursting with pride for a sort of new resurgent, relatively tolerant, westernized Beirut.
As it happened we were standing outside of the Harir memorial. I was with a Sunni, a Shiite and a Christian at the time when we started to hear gunfire and see cars filled with Hezbollah supporters celebrating the capture, kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers.
The look on the three faces of my companions was one of shame, embarrassment, dismay and sort of resignation as they all seemed to immediately get what inevitably was going to happen next.
KING: That's a great city, isn't it, Tony?
BOURDAIN: It was a paradise. I'm heartbroken that I doubt we'll ever get to show the world what a hopeful place it was, how proud, how tolerant, kind of a dream version of what we would like the Middle East to be some day, were we to get our way. Sophisticated, largely English-speaking, friendly, food-centric.
It was, for me, you know, two days of paradise followed by the heartbreak of watching all of these nice people, many of whom Lebanese-Americans who had returned it their homeland or Lebanese who'd left during the civil war, come back to try to make a better Beirut, a better Lebanon, thinking that this was a good time to do it to watch all those hopes dismantled piece by piece before my eyes. It was a horrible thing to see.
KING: How did you get out, Tony?
BOURDAIN: I left after quite a bit of waiting around and waking up to bombing and going to sleep to bombing every day for over a week on the USS Nashville. And I have to say the Marines and sailors of that ship who were called on to help with the evacuation at the last minute were incredibly efficient. One doesn't think of the word "kind", "tender" and "sensitive" when you think of the Marine Corps, but they were really incredible to the people being evacuated.
KING: Did your crew continue to shoot?
BOURDAIN: We shot what we could, but I think there was a real sense, right away, that, you know, we make a travel and food show exploring cultures through travel and food. We shot a lot of footage that I don't think we ever want to use.
You know, what we went through in Beirut is nothing compared to what Beirutis themselves had to go through. I suppose we'll -- I don't know. I really -- I don't know that we can use what we shot.
Certainly, some of the things, I guess, I'd like to show people what Beirut was like before and perhaps could be again in the future. Certainly, I'm proud of what we -- what we filmed of the Marines and sailors. But, there are a lot of time spent of us just sitting around worrying about, you know, when are we getting out of here? I don't know whether I'd feel good about airing that.
KING: Hold on one second. I want to check with our own -- are you there? Yes. Mr. Robertson, are you there?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am, indeed, Larry.
KING: What can you tell us, Nic, about people getting out? I mean, Tony got out. He's back in New York. What else is happening there?
ROBERTSON: Well, people are still getting out. The American embassy here is really putting out a last-pitch call out to anyone that wants to leave the country. About 11 and a half thousand or so Americans have left, but it's a last call going out now.
Certainly, people here are flooding up from the south of the country. Those that can get out are still trying to get out. We know about 150,000 have left the country.
But a lot of people are trying to make the best of it here in Beirut. They've gotten out of the dangerous areas, and they're trying to get on with their lives.
I think what we've seen transform over the last week or so since the bombing began, we do see more people out on the streets. In some neighborhoods we do see more stores open. A lot of the city is pretty much closed for business, but you can go up in the mountains and you can sit in a cafe and have a coffee and have an ice cream and look down at the shelling on Beirut. It's not a good situation but, in some places, life is just sort of taking over as best people can make it happen, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Nic. Nic Robertson.
You've described, Tony Bourdain, the situation on the beach as like going to a Metallica concert gone horribly wrong. What do you mean?
BOURDAIN: Well, I have to say that the embassy side of the operation was uninspiring. It was -- one would have expected better of any concert promoter or nightclub operator, even on short notice. It was really pandemonium out there, not -- it didn't seem that anyone was in charge. Bad crowd control, people standing for hours and hours in the sun.
The second that we passed into Marine and Navy control, everything changed. I mean, it suddenly became efficient, caring, fast-moving, and organized. So, the two operations, I have to say...
KING: Night and day.
BOURDAIN: Night and day.
KING: Would you go back, Tony?
BOURDAIN: I would love to go back. I -- I will -- it is great unfinished business with me that I have yet to be able to show the world what was possible in Beirut, how good the food, how nice the people I met, how hopeful a situation I saw for only two brief days.
KING: They are wonderful people, are they not?
BOURDAIN: Absolutely, with incredible tradition of hospitality, particularly at the table. They like to party. They pride themselves on their resilience. It was just so sad to see all of that pride, in what they had survived, to see that disappear in an instant.
KING: Thanks, Tony.
BOURDAIN: My pleasure.
KING: Anthony Bourdain is the host of "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations", seen on the Travel Channel and his experiences in Beirut. This has been another Sunday night edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We're here every night covering this, and we'll be back again, of course, at the start of another week tomorrow night.
Let's go back out to Beirut. Anderson Cooper standing by to host "AC 360". Here we go again, Anderson.
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